Press Release

Valaco in Babel

An evening with Visualist-in-Residence, Greg Cohen


April 13, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
At the Institute of Cultural Inquiry
Presentation and Discussion will begin at 7pm

The Institute of Cultural Inquiry (ICI) presents Valaco in Babel, a public presentation of our current Visualist-in-Residence, Greg Cohen’s practice-based research at the ICI.

Functioning as a window into visual practice, Valaco in Babel will commence with a self-guided studio visit where the images, objects, and ideas produced during Cohen’s residency at the ICI can be viewed. This will be followed by a session where Cohen, the founder of REASArch (the Group for Research on Experimental Accumulation and Speculative Archives), will discuss aspects of his work within the group’s current project, The Valaco Archive. During this time, guests will also be introduced to the project’s digital component (currently under construction) as a means to familiarize the public with the material and conceptual components of the archive as it continues to evolve.

Using the questionable limitations of ‘the archive’ as a jumping point, The Valaco Archive project endeavors to produce, assess, catalog, and interpret the evidential record and trajectory of an extraordinary, if indeterminate historical persona, Roberto Constantín Valaco, through exploratory visual research. Born Robert Konstanz Wälke, Valaco first surfaced as the putative author of an enigmatic manuscript found in Buenos Aires in 2004 before indications linked him to the identity of an extra in Veit Harlan’s Kolberg, the last and costliest film of the Third Reich. Working speculatively with a complex assortment of elements–visual, textual, material, conceptual—Cohen efforts during his residency at the ICI and beyond aspire to (re-) construct a memory that would unearth the densely sedimented imagery of Valaco’s existence.

The ICI’s “Visualist-in-Residence” (VIR) program offers artists, art theorists, writers, and other visual researchers and culture producers a chance to participate in studio-based visual research in a richly layered and mutable environment. The VIR ‘laboratory’ may function as an artist’s studio, a writing room, a space for gathering data or a quiet space for evaluation and contemplation depending on the needs of each individual project. At the Institute, VIRs are actively encouraged to expand current definitions of visual research and to borrow freely from ICI research practices as they develop aspects of their project in one or more of the following areas: Field work and Data Acquisition; Research and Analysis; Manipulation and Experimentation; Knowledge Transmission and Production; and Public Presentation and Publication. At the end of each residency, the VIRs are invited to present their ‘research’ in a public event/discussion session.

Greg Cohen’s VIR workspace and the materials associated The Valaco Archive project will remain on display (by appointment only via until April 19, 2013. New applications for the Institute of Cultural Inquiry’s VIR program are being accepted through May 31, 2013. To apply, please send a letter of interest to

All ICI public programs are free. Prompt arrival prior to program time is recommended. For questions regarding Valaco in Babel or other ICI events, please contact

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